McVitie’s is revamping its Go Ahead! low-calorie cake and biscuit brand with new packaging and products.
The £3.5m move is aimed at improving the brand’s fortunes which have suffered a 6.1% dip in sales over the last year, according to figures from Information Resources.
McCain, one of the stars of both the potato speciality and hot snacks markets has admitted that Vibes - crisps aimed at adults - has not been one of its greatest successes.
The ‘hot crisps’ concept - ridged slices of potato in hot spicy coating designed to cook in the oven from frozen - were launched in August last year but are set to be withdrawn next month.
A multi-million pound marketing package included national TV, hot sampling, instore promotions, links with entertainment distributors and press ads. But according to Information Resources the products achieved sales of £1.8m for the year ending July 12, 2003, disappointing by McCain’s standards.
A buyer from one major retailer, which delisted the product in June this year, said the poor sales were due to Vibes’ high rsp of £1.69 and because the ‘hot crisps’ concept did not really mean anything to consumers. “The product was also quite soggy when cooked,” she said.
She also criticised the promotional strategy: “Launching with small price reductions rather than a big promotion wasn’t the way to go.”
McCain said sales had only reached about 40% of predicted volume but stressed that the product had over-indexed against younger users.
It said: “Vibes has helped us develop the category in a new direction and, though perhaps ahead of its time, will pave the way for more innovative products targeting new consumers and usage occasions.”
Launch date: August 2002